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Protection public interest

Update time 2018-12-12 14:06

Upon establishing possible violation of the rights and lawful interests of a person, society or the State, the prosecutors protect the public interest upon the notification, proposal, application or complaint filed by the person, state or municipal institution or agency, or on their own initiative as well as in cases when the officers, employees of other institutions or persons having equivalent status, who are under the obligation to protect the said interest, failed to take any measures to rectify the violation. Prosecutors must actively defend possibly violated rights and lawful interests of the state, society and persons and, in some cases, of individual natural persons especially children, incapable or limitedly capable persons. This function of Prosecutor’s Office is established in the Constitution and other laws.

In accordance with the civil procedure, the prosecutor applies to the court when he establishes the breach of legislative act the nature of which, in prosecutor’s opinion, is significant to the rights and lawful interests of the persons, groups thereof, the state and society and provides reasonable assumptions for satisfaction of prosecutor’s material lawful demand.

It should be noted that having granted prosecutors the right to initiate civil and administrative proceedings when this is required by the public interest, the legislator failed to define the notion of public interest. In other words, the legislator has a wide understanding of what the public interest is and grants the prosecutor the right to decide himself whether something is contrary to the public interest in particular case and whether the proceedings to defend such interest should be initiated or not. However, the final decision whether the public interest is breached or not is made by the court examining the prosecutor’s claim, application or petition.

During the period of time from 1998 until the reform of the Prosecutor’s Office in 2012, the function of protection of the public interest was performed to a different extent by the prosecutors of the Prosecutor General’s Office, Regional and District Prosecutor’s Offices. The analysis of the long-standing practice developed by the prosecutors in the said area has led to the conclusion that protection of the public interest requires the prosecutors to have the appropriate qualification in the area of application of laws. This resulted in the reform of the system of the Prosecutor’s Office into a two-tier system of the Prosecutor’s Office, namely, the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Regional Prosecutor’s Offices as laid down in the Strategic Activity Plan of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Lithuania for the Years 2012-2014 as approved by the Order of the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Lithuania No I-63 “On the Approval of the Strategic Activity Plan of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Lithuania for the Years 2012-2014 and Description of the Programme “Fight Against Crime. Implementation of Justice and Lawfulness””. The goal of the reform is to ensure that the prosecutors are capable of implementing their statutory functions in specialized units, including the area of protection of the public interest, by concentrating implementation of the function of protection of the public interest in the Divisions of Protection of the Public Interest within the Regional Prosecutor’s Offices.

The competence of the prosecutors of the Prosecutor General’s Office and the specialized Divisions of Protection of the Public Interest within the Regional Prosecutor’s Offices is defined in the Regulations of Competence of the Prosecutor’s Office and Prosecutors of the Republic of Lithuania as approved by the Order of the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Lithuania No I-141 of 17 April 2012 (wording of the Law No I-290 of 30 December 2014 with subsequent amendments and supplements).

Prosecutors of the Division of Protection of the Public Interest within the Prosecutor General’s Office:

  • examine, in exceptional cases, the statements, requests or complaints of persons, which are received at the Prosecutor General’s Office or perform investigations initiated by the prosecutor into the possible violation of the public interest and pass the relevant decisions; examine, when performing the functions of the Superior Prosecutor, the complaints of persons against the decisions on the refusal to protect the public interest passed by the Prosecutors of the Division of Protection of the Public Interest within the Regional Prosecutor’s Offices;
  • analyse, summarize the practice of the Prosecutors and the case-law of the courts in the area of application of the measures of protection of the public interest, develop recommendations, summaries, explanatory notes.

Prosecutors of the Divisions of Protection of the Public Interest within the Regional Prosecutor’s Offices:

  • examine the statements, requests, complaints of persons, which are received at the Regional Prosecutor’s Office or perform investigations initiated by the prosecutor into the possible violation of the public interest (e.g. revocation of administrative acts, invalidations of transactions, reopening of proceedings in the administrative cases, recognition of the person to be legally incapable, restriction of the parental authority, determination of custody and care, invalidation or dissolution of the marriage in certain cases, unlawful establishment of the legal entity, etc.) and pass the relevant decisions;
  • examine the complaints, requests of persons regarding the eviction of natural persons from residential premises, authorize eviction thereof or pass decisions on the refusal to issue the authorization;
  • when performing the functions of the Superior Prosecutor, the Prosecutor of the Division of Protection of the Public Interest at the Regional Prosecutor’s Office, examines the complaints of persons against the decisions on the refusal to protect the public interest passed by the Prosecutors of the Division of Protection of the Public Interest within the Regional Prosecutor’s Offices.

The Recommendations on the Protection of the Public Interest were approved by the Order of the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Lithuania No I-218 of 26 June 2018.

The Division of Protection of the Public Interest within the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Lithuania follows the Regulations of the Division of Protection of the Public Interest of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Lithuania as approved by the Order of the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Lithuania No I-205 of 21 June 2018, while the Divisions of Protection of the Public Interest within the Regional Prosecutor’s Offices follow the Regulations of the Divisions of Protection of the Public Interest of the Regional Prosecutor’s Offices as approved by the Order of the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Lithuania No I-277 of 17 August 2018.